Separately, actress Jada Pinkett Smith said she too would not be attending the February 28 star-studded ceremony.
Mr Lee, an African American and previous Oscar winner, posted an open letter to the president and board of governors of the Academy Awards on Instagram. The post was accompanied by a photo of Martin Luther King, on the US holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader. (Also Read - Oscars 2016: Outrage as Black Actors Absent From Nomination Lineup)
#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)
"How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let's not even get into the other branches. 40 white actors in 2 years and no flava at all. We can't act?!," he wrote in a lengthy post.
Mr Lee, who won an Oscar last year for his lifetime achievements as a filmmaker and actor, blamed the executives who run Hollywood studios for the absence of minorities in Oscar-contending roles. (Also Read: #OscarsSoWhite, But Here Are 8 Great 2015 Performances by Black Actors)
"People, the truth is we ain't in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white," wrote Mr Lee, who is well known for his outspoken comments.
He suggested that Hollywood follow the lead of the National Football League, which requires that minorities be interviewed for head coach and senior executive positions when those are being filled.
"It's worth the effort or it will be the same old hi-jinks," he said.
The Academy on Thursday announced the nominees for this year's awards, hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
No sooner than the nominations had been announced, than the glaring absence of black actors or directors set social media abuzz under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
In a video on Facebook, Jada Pinkett, wife of actor-singer Will Smith, said: "Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people and powerful."
"Hey Chris," she added, in apparent reference to the host. "I won't be at the Academy Awards and I won't be watching. But I can't think of a better man to do the job at hand this year than you, my friend. Good luck."